If you have only experienced a spa style swedish massage, this work may surprise you...
Because this work is different from your typical spa massage, I generally preface a session with an explanation of the type of movements I may include and mention that I may or may not incorporate some simple Resistance & Release exercises into a session if there is a particular issue that would benefit from this technique. I want clients to understand that their comfort and pleasure is important and also that they may be participating actively in the care they receive.
When I first experienced this kind of work, I was so happy to be an active part in my own therapy. It felt empowering and I became aware of the progress I was making along with my therapist. I learned to communicate in the moment about what I was noticing, which led me to conscious awareness of what my body was experiencing. In so many ways, I think most of us remain unconscious and unaware of what's actually going on in our bodies until an opportunity like this comes along for us to find out.
It has been my experience that this work is cumulative in effect, and once we progress through the process of addressing issues and integrating some changes, we transition to sessions about pure relaxation and exploration of more pleasant sensations rather than using exercises. Because the work integrates, we move beyond old habitual states to learning how to feel good most of the time.
A recent first time client wanted to share about her experience because the work she received was so new and different for her. As a long time massage client she was surprised by the results she received in just one session.
"What I noticed most profoundly is the difference between how I felt before and after the single bodywork appointment with Honor Woodard.
I am accustomed to regular monthly massage sessions, and I had received a gift certificate for a session with Honor. I arrived at her office with compromised respiration due to injuries and associated long standing postural pattern that was exaggerated by a back spasm. At first as she was beginning to work with me, I realized this wasn’t a traditional modality that I was familiar with and I was somewhat skeptical because I had a muscle spasm in my upper back and it seemed like Honor was working on other parts of my body.
What I’m accustomed to is an issue being addressed with deep tissue work in the affected area, and Honor was pulling on my legs. I was thinking “why is she pulling on my legs? It’s my back that is hurting!” But I recognized subtle, pleasant positional changes throughout my body and so I was willing to participate in the work, whatever it was going to be. My curiosity was piqued and I wanted to see where this was going.
I felt very relaxed in the midst of the session, and I noticed that I was able to be present and participate consciously in this new and unfamiliar form of work. There were exercises with simple directions I was able to follow. The movement she used allowed my body to settle safely into an authentic resting position, which totally surprised me because she hadn’t directly massaged my area of discomfort.
With Honor’s integrative approach I was able relax so quickly that I was able to receive more openly, and I have been able to maintain the changes over at least a couple of months so far. Not being one to quiet my mind easily, surprisingly, I was able, in mind and body, to relax into a resting, receptive state in just a few moments, whereas in massages I have received before it has typically taken a full 60 minutes to arrive at that state."
"After our session, I was surprised by my surprise, and surprised at just how effortless it was for me to stand straight and breathe fully. My overall sensation in my body was of lightness and I felt elongated.
Having come in with compromised respiration, I was able to leave in a posture that opens my diaphragm and allows for my full capacity of breath without the significant amount of effort normally required get to that same ease.
I usually allow after a massage time to go home and take a nap for integration, but after Honor’s work I didn’t need to. I felt energized and fully able to breathe. I was excited to be standing tall, without discomfort. In fact, as part of the integrative work, Honor guided me to learn how to prompt my body to remember that state of awareness and call up the posture instantly.
I have enjoyed the significant result with minimal effort on my part. I simply have to remember the session, the prompts, and then enjoy the awakenings."
- SW, Clayton, GA June 2016
What happens after a session is just as important as the work received. When we take the time and turn our attention to the new feelings we are experiencing, we have an opportunity to create a new normal. We are able to change our relationship to gravity - we can consciously adapt to a lighter, easier way of being.